Since 1972, BMW race cars, teams, and drivers have left a lasting impression on the world of motorsport racking up victories on the pro circuit and motivating younger generations to go behind the wheel of BMW M Motorsport cars. Only Honda possibly can boast a manufacturer's track record as extensive and diverse in motorsports as BMW in Dubai.
The German manufacturer with innumerable victories on two and four wheels on and off the road is possibly the best all-around racer ever. Its continued success is a credit to some highly skilled pilots and vehicles in equal measure. And we've chosen to honor the latter today. Here are some of our favorite four-wheelers though there are thousands to pick from.
The BMW 328 the oldest vehicle on our list enjoyed great success during its time and is widely regarded as the most successful sports racing vehicle of the 1930s. 464 of these lightweight 80PS 2.0-liter straight-six cars were built between 1936 and 1940. The car made its racing debut at the 1936 Nürburgring Eifelrennen race where Ernst Henne drove it to victory in the 2.0-liter class. The RAC Tourist Trophy the sterreichische Alpenfahrtand the La Turbie hillclimb were among the first of many class victories more than 100 of which occurred in 1937 alone.
The 328 won its class at the RAC Tourist Trophy and Alpine Rally the next year then went on to win the RAC Rally finish first in its class and seventh overall in the 1939 24 Hours of Le Mans. Frank Pratt drove a 328 to victory in the 1948 Australian Grand Prix despite the fact that the car was already ten years old at that point. The 328 however, really excelled during the Mille Miglia winning the class in 1938 and the overall race in 1940 with an average speed of 103.6 mph. additionally, the BMW 328 Mille Miglia Touring Coupe created history in 2004 when it triumphed in the race of modern resurrection and became the first vehicle to do so in the same year.
Many associate the Batmobile with either the low, angular design of the more modern superhero film or the blacked-out 1955 Ford Lincoln Futura. However, it means something quite different to BMW racing enthusiasts. With the exception of the M1 the 3.0-liter CSL Batmobile proved to be an unstoppable force in touring car racing during the 1970s. It is possible that it is one of the best-looking BMW racing vehicles for rent.
The 3.0 CSL Batmobile which was based on the road-going E9 had a spoiler beneath its pointed shark nose, strakes on the bonnet, and a sweeping rear wing. This body modification reportedly added a significant 90 kg of downforce at 124 mph. It should come as no surprise given how it looks that the aerodynamic effects sparked similarities to the similarly named DC comic’s vehicle. 1,039 homologation vehicles each powered by a straight-six generating 209PS (206bhp) and 286Nm were created between 1973 and 1975 to certify the BMW race cars (211lb ft).
Thinner gauge steel in the monocoque and an aluminum bonnet and boot helped reduce weight (the latter reverted to steel upon the addition of the rear wing). The 1,270kg automobile was stripped of luxuries like carpet, power steering, electric windows, and sound-deadening materials enabling it to accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 6.8 seconds and reach a high speed of 136 miles per hour.
The homologation models themselves were fiercely disputed but the BMW competition vehicles which produced more than 300PS excelled in touring races especially those held by the European Touring Car Championship and the Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft. The Batmobile won the special tourism class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1973 and 1974 and from 1973 to 1979 with the exception of 1974 it consistently won the European Touring Car Championships.
The 3.0 CSL was used in the 1975 IMSA GT Championship on the other side of the pond where Sam Posey, Brian Redman, and Ronnie Peterson won races throughout the season. The Group 5 3.5 CSL meantime claimed three victories in the 1976 World Championship for Makes.
Without the M1 Procar, there could be no ranking of the greatest BMWs in Dubai. The model was adapted from the M1 road car for the single-make eponymous series and it was as iconic as it was brief-lived. The M1 Procar had a straight-six engine that could produce 477PS (470bhp) at 9,000 rpm and was designed to adhere to Group 4 technical standards.
Later models produced between 860PS and 1,000PS with turbocharging and were constructed to Group 5 criteria (848bhp or 986bhp). The Group 4 Procar's aerodynamic wedge shape created by famed auto designer Giorgio Giugiaro allowed it to accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in under 4.3 seconds and reach a top speed of 193 mph.
A deep nose spoiler, an adjustable rear wing new suspension with adjustable anti-roll bars, a racing steering rack and reworked brakes were among the further improvements. The series took place at most European F1 races and had a unique driver lineup with the fastest F1 drivers from the relevant Grand Prix's practice alongside established and up-and-coming racers as well as private drivers.
Sadly the series only lasted two years. Nelson Piquet won the first race in 1980and Niki Lauda won the first race in 1979. BMW M1 Procars continued to race until 1986 in a number of national competitions including Le Mans the German Automobile Racing Championship and the American IMSA GTO Championship.
The BMW 2002 was introduced in 1968 as a solution to its post-war problems. Alex von Falkenhausen and BMW Planning Director Helmut Werner Bonsch individually converted 1600ti Neue Klasse saloons to 2.0-liter engines then teamed forces and offered the concept to the BMW Board. A star was thus born. Over the course of its existence, 2002 was produced in three different iterations: the first generation, or model 68 was built between 1968 and 1971 the second generation, or model 71 was built between 1971 and 1973 and the third generation, or model 73 was built between 1973 and the end of production in 1976.
The 2002 made its racing debut in 1969 when Group 5-spec turbocharged vehicles were entered into the European Touring Car Championship. There they faced off against cars like the Porsche 911 before Dieter Quester representing BMW Dubai ultimately won Division 3. The 2002 also raced in the sub-2.0-liter class of the Trans Am Series but there it had limited success against the dominant Alfa Romeo, Porsche, and Datsun, winning just two races in 1970. Hans Stuck and Clemens Schickentanz, however, won the 1970 24 Hours of Nürburgring in a 2002 that same year making their victory legendary.
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